As we step into 2022, it’s hard to believe that we began a global pandemic in early 2020. It simultaneously feels like yesterday and a decade ago. Although it will take some time before we 100% bid adieu to face masks and random supply shortages, we will...eventually. But many trends that emerged in the last two years are likely here to stay. Why? Because things like curb-side pick-up, QR code menus, and enhanced delivery options for everything offer an irreversible level of convenience and safety for consumers.
Retail automotive is not immune from these consumer trends and will also emerge into a new world that requires convenience, flexibility, and safety for its consumers. The dealerships that pivoted and prepared will compete and continue to win in their markets.
Most traditional dealership technologies were not fundamentally designed to support eCommerce - especially in the service department. Dealerships equipped with outdated tech have their hands tied when trying to compete in the growing zero-contact world to which consumers have grown accustomed.
If your fixed-ops tools require your customers to be physically present in your service drive to drop off or pick up their vehicle, review ROs or inspection reports, sign approvals or other documents, view the status of their repairs, or pay their invoice, it may be time to consider updating your technology.
Features and functionality to consider:
Online scheduling that’s personalized, optimized, and easy to use. Find an intuitive scheduling experience that's efficient for both dealership personnel and consumers. Let your customers see suggested service menus, open recalls, and even ML/AI recommended products and services based on VIN.
Online portal for total visibility and interaction. Consumers shouldn’t have to call into the dealership to simply check on the status of their vehicle. Offer an online consumer portal so they can see the status, review documents, get notified on all MPI feedback including pictures/videos as well as seamlessly approve work. Last, but certainly not least, review and pay their invoice remotely with their payment of choice.
A range of contactless service options. Whether it's secure key drop off or express pick-ups, consumers want to be on their way in a matter of seconds without needing face-to-face interaction. In addition, many are taking advantage of more concierge-type services that allow for pick-up and delivery of their vehicle so they don’t need to leave their home or office.
Upgrading dealership technology is no small feat, but working with the right vendor will exponentially improve the transition.
In summary, automotive eCommerce has evolved from “buy now” and “make an appointment” buttons on a website, to the revamping of dealership processes across the board. It’s no longer the shiny-penny-enhancement of traditional retail, it is the necessary replacement of it your customers now expect.